Carolina Panthers: No Rest on Labor Day Weekend

The Carolina Panthers made some notable cuts, but also filled out their practice squad in anticipation of their first game.

The Carolina Panthers have been busy over the weekend. They had to cut the roster down to 53 guys. The team had to sign the practice squad. They have to get ready for the Denver Broncos and their new starting quarterback Trevor Siemian. All of these moves have had their little surprises as the Panthers are now two days away from starting the season.

The first surprise was the cuts. The Panthers cut a couple of players who seemed to have longer term futures with the team. They cut draftees Zack Sanchez and Beau Sandland. They cut project undrafted rookie Keyarris Garrett. The Panthers also cut Wes Horton, who had been the team for a couple of years now.

Of these cuts, Sanchez was the biggest surprise. The Panthers had made a big deal about how they liked all three of their rookie cornerbacks. Sanchez was the lowest drafted and least physical. While Daryl Worley and James Bradberry were six footers or more, Sanchez was a little shorter and a lot lighter. He had been perceived as a nickel back.

Throughout the preseason, the Panthers seemed comfortable with the two rookies on the wings and Bene Benwikere in the nickel for those situations. That is an arrangement not unlike the one they had with Charles Tillman last year. In the end, the Panthers must not have seen enough from Sanchez to keep him on the active roster over Robert McClain or special teams ace Teddy Williams. More on Sanchez in a bit.

Stevie Brown also made a short appearance on the Panthers roster. The veteran was brought in to bolster the safety, but his performance in the 4th preseason game must have left the Panthers unconvinced. Three safeties can work, and my guess is that the Panthers have some more confidence in Colin Jones as the primary backup. They did not go get a safety from some other team’s cuts.

The practice squad answered some questions about the guys who were cut. Sanchez, Sandland, and Garrett all returned to the fold as part of the squad. This means the Panthers can continue to develop them for the future. Notably the Panthers added Travell Dixon and Marcus Ball to the squad, meaning there are two easy to find safeties if they need them.

The Panthers did add a player not from their training camp when they claimed Lavar Edwards off of waivers. The former LSU defensive lineman has bounced around the league for four years. He is 6’4” and weighs 275 lbs. He will take over whatever role was vacated by Horton.

That is a quick summary of the busy transactions period. Now the Panthers have to rush things together to meet a very familiar foe, the Denver Broncos.